President-elect Donald Trump has tapped for US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a conservative billionaire who “does not hide her contempt for the public schools,” according to historian Diane Ravitch.
A longtime supporter of charter schools and vouchers for private and religious schools, National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen Garcia said of DeVos: “Her efforts over the years have done more to undermine public education than support students.
“She has lobbied for failed schemes, like vouchers — which take away funding and local control from our public schools — to fund private schools at taxpayers' expense.
“These schemes do nothing to help our most-vulnerable students while they ignore or exacerbate glaring opportunity gaps. She has consistently pushed a corporate agenda to privatise, de-professionalise, and impose cookie-cutter solutions to public education.
“By nominating Betsy DeVos, the Trump administration has demonstrated just how out of touch it is with what works best for students, parents, educators and communities.”
Similarly, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten called DeVos “the most ideological, anti-public education nominee put forward since President [Jimmy] Carter created a Cabinet-level Department of Education”.
“In nominating DeVos,” Weingarten said, “Trump makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatising, defunding, and destroying public education in America.”
Indeed, Chalkbeat listed “a few things we could reasonably surmise from a DeVos pick”. Among them was that Trump is now likely to go through with his plan “to use federal funds to encourage states to make school choice available to all poor students, including through vouchers that allow families to take public funding to private schools”.
[Abridged from Common Dreams.]